Home / Companies / News /  IndiGo inducts first freighter, begins dedicated cargo service

Largest Indian airline IndiGo today inducted its first freighter aircraft in a bid to start a dedicated cargo service. 

The airline has inducted an Airbus A321 freighter aircraft, which has been converted from passenger jet to a full freighter configuration in Singapore.

The aircraft will be used for both domestic and international missions by transporting products such as valuables, express shipments, perishables, general cargo, documents, and couriers, IndiGo said. 

“The CarGo business brought in revenues when the scheduled commercial flights were at a standstill," Mr. Mahesh Malik, Chief Commercial Officer-CarGo, IndiGo said. 

The A321 freighter will offer 24 container positions and support a payload of up to 27 tonnes. These are being converted through a programme involving ST Engineering and Airbus with their joint venture, Elbe FlugzeugWerke (EFW). 

“The aircraft is uniquely capable for IndiGo, using our current vast pool of A320 family pilots, and able to service markets between China in the east and the Gulf in the west, not forgetting the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries to the north," IndiGo said.  The airline is in process of converting three more passenger jets A321CEOs to freighter aircraft.

Indian airlines are augmenting their cargo capacity as the segment has emerged as a crucial and promising revenue stream during the last two years of covid pandemic. 

The dedicated freighter fleet of India has seen a dramatic rise to 28 aircraft from 5 over the last few years. This number is set to rise even further as airlines in India are looking to add dedicated aircraft for cargo operations, which have fared better than passenger segment amid the covid pandemic. 

As per data from the Airports Authority of India, all operational airports of India handled 3.14 million tonne of freight during 2021-22 (Apr-Mar). This is 93.5% of the freight handled during 2017-18 (Apr-Mar). The picture has been sombre for the air passenger traffic. The air passenger traffic during 2021-22 (Apr-Mar) stood at 85.1 million passengers, which is 68.8% of the traffic recorded during 2017-18 (Apr-Mar). 

The dedicated freighter fleet count in India is set to increase further as established airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Bluedart look to induct more aircraft for carrying freight. In fact, there will be more entrants over the next few months in the form of cargo-only QuikJet and Pradhan Express.

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